The horrific tragedy which occurred in Newtown, Conn., last Friday has deeply impacted all of us.
While it is important for us to work through our emotions from such a terrible event, I believe it is equally important for us to take practical steps to protect our children from the potential of such a tragedy occurring in Gloucester.
It is a sad fact that there are very few truly safe places in the U.S. anymore. Crazy people exist everywhere, and are taking out their rage on innocent people in movie theaters, malls, outdoor rallies, and wherever else they believe they can succeed in inflicting harm on others.
The biggest difference between those places and schools, however, are that schools are considered “gun free zones.” That means that, unlike other public places, a law abiding citizen who owns a firearm can not bring it onto the property. So while there is always a chance that a “good guy” with a gun in a public place can deal with an armed madman and protect people around him, in schools, there is no chance of that happening.
Thus, schools are completely unprotected, leaving the most innocent among us completely at the mercy of those looking to harm, and these criminals know it.
We seldom hear that a gun-wielding madman enters a government building. That is because these buildings are protected every hour of the day by armed security. Inner city schools have taken these precautions as well, guarding against the possibility of such an attack. It is in the suburban areas, like Gloucester, where the schools are unprotected.
While politicians debate whether making certain types of guns illegal will eliminate these crimes, they are protected by armed guards surrounding the buildings where they live and work. The president, who is now touting the need for gun control, is surrounded by heavily armed protection nearly every minute of the day — this, while our children and teachers are left defenseless should a madman enter their school.
I don’t want any family I know to have to endure the pain of the families of Newtown. As the mother of three young children, I want to see each and every school in this community protected by an armed guard.
Gloucester has a vast number of veterans who are trained in combat returning from war and unable to find jobs. That would be an incredible resource to tap to protect our children, and I believe that we should make it a priority, effective immediately, that our school budgets reflect this need.
So, I call on the mayor, superintendent, School Committee, and City Council of Gloucester to make this happen to protect our children.
While politicians and lobbyists debate the need for federal and state gun control laws, I think the least we can do is give our children even a small amount of the protection that those politicians enjoy.
AMANDA O. KESTERSON